© Reuters. A Senegalese demonstrator throws a stone throughout clashes with riot police as they protest towards the postponement of the Feb. 25 presidential election, in Dakar, Senegal February 4, 2024. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
By Cooper Inveen and Diadie Ba
DAKAR (Reuters) -Senegalese police on Sunday cracked down on protests towards the postponement of the presidential election, as parliament ready to debate a invoice that might reschedule the vote for August and lengthen President Macky Sall’s mandate.
Sall introduced on Saturday the Feb. 25 vote could be delayed to an unspecified date due to a dispute over the candidate listing and alleged corruption inside the constitutional physique that dealt with the listing. Some opposition and civil society teams have denounced the transfer as an “institutional coup”.
Lawmakers will on Monday debate a proposal to maintain the vote on Aug. 25 and hold Sall in energy till his successor is put in, in accordance to the textual content of the invoice seen by Reuters.
Senegal has by no means delayed a presidential vote and uncertainty about what occurs subsequent threatens to gasoline additional unrest just like the lethal protests of latest years which have tarnished its popularity as considered one of West Africa’s most secure democracies.
In an early signal of pushback, teams of protesters on Sunday blocked site visitors at numerous factors alongside a essential thoroughfare in Dakar with makeshift barricades of burning tyres.
In one space, round 200 folks retreated into aspect streets after police in riot gear fired tear fuel and began detaining protesters.
At least two opposition presidential candidates had been swept up within the melee. In a web-based submit, candidate Daouda Ndiaye mentioned he was attacked by police, and the marketing campaign supervisor of Anta Babacar Ngom instructed Reuters she had been detained by safety forces and was being held into the night.
Former prime minister Aminata Toure additionally mentioned she had been detained and brought to a police station in Dakar as quickly as she bought out of her automobile.
“President Macky’s exit slip is now marked with the seal of this unprecedented democratic regression,” Toure posted on Saturday in response to the postponement.
The police didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Further protests are deliberate exterior parliament on Monday.
After Sall’s televised announcement, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) expressed concern concerning the circumstances that led to the postponement and referred to as for a brand new election date to be set shortly.
The French overseas ministry on Sunday additionally urged the authorities “to remove the uncertainty surrounding the electoral timetable, so that the elections can be held as soon as possible and in compliance with the rules of Senegalese democracy”.